What's Cooking in America?: Cookbooks Narrate Ethnicity: 1850–1990

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Abstract:

This study looks at cookbooks published in the United States as narrators of ethnicity. It contends that cookbooks are social texts through which ethnic culinary knowledge is articulated into the dominant culture. Cookbooks reveal the means through which ethnicity is detached from its holders, modified by agencies of the dominant culture and reassigned an ethnic version. Through this process, food writers reduce ethnicity to the level of practical knowledge made available for sharing among people of various backgrounds. The study of the propagation of ethnic culinary culture in America is of particular interest because its discipline entails a changing negotiation about American (mainstream) and ethnic cuisines.

Keywords: COOKBOOKS; CULINARY KNOWLEDGE; ETHNIC GROUPS; ETHNICITY; IMMIGRANTS

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/155280109X368660

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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